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Highlands dominates freestyle events to win first boys’ region swimming championship since 1994

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By Terry Boehmker
NKyTribune sports reporter

Highlands claimed its first regional championship in boys’ swimming since 1994 and ended Covington Catholic’s 19-year streak of team titles on Saturday at Silverlake Recreation Center.

Highlands finished on top in the Region 7 boys’ team standings with 508 points and CovCath finished second with 381. The last time CovCath was outscored in the boys’ regional meet was 1998 when Scott won the title.

Dixie Heights senior Mallory Beil set a regional meet record in the girls’ 100 butterfly.

Notre Dame took home the Region 7 girls’ championship trophy for the 20th consecutive year with a 412 point total. Dixie Heights was runner-up with 341.

Notre Dame senior Sophie Skinner won gold medals in 100 and 200 freestyle individual events and the 400 freestyle relay. She was also on the Pandas’ 200 freestyle relay team that placed second.

Dixie Heights won seven of the 12 girls’ regional events with sisters Mallory and Kenady Beil leading the way. They each won two individual events and swam on the 200 freestyle relay team that finished first.

Mallory, a senior, won the 100 butterfly in 54.43 seconds to set a new regional meet record and her winning time in the 200 individual medley was just a fraction of a second behind the existing record. Kanady, a sophomore, won the 50 freestyle sprint race and the 500 freestyle distance event.

In the boys’ regional finals, Highlands swimmers dominated the freestyle events, winning three individual and two relay races in that stroke. In the 100-meter freestyle, the top four finishers were Bluebirds for a net total of 68 points in that one event.

The team’s top performer was senior Garrison Herfel. He won the 50 and 100 freestyle events and was a member of the 200 and 400 freestyle relay teams that finished first.

Brendan Conley also had a big day for the Bluebirds. He won the 200 freestyle, placed second in the 500 freestyle and swam on the 400 freestyle relay team that set a school record (3:11.82).

Twin brothers Matt and Daniel Sims led Dixie Heights to a third-place finish in the boys’ regional meet. Matt won the 100 butterfly and 500 freestyle events. Daniel won the 200 individual medley and placed second in the 100 breaststroke. Both seniors were also on the 200 and 400 freestyle relay teams that placed second.

Campbell County junior Marian Tiemer set a Region 7 meet record with a 513.05 score in girls’ 1-meter diving. St. Henry freshman Aiden Stigall was the boys’ diving champion.

The state championship meet will be Feb. 22-24 at the University of Louisville’s Ralph Wright Natatorium. The top qualifying times in each event have been posted on the KHSAA website.

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